Japanese Origami

by Lyanne Thomas
(Manila, Philippines)

All about Japanese Origami

The art of paper folding, commonly known as origami, started in the 17th century AD and was later on popularized outside Japan in the mid 1900s. Some historians and scholars would say that just like much of Japanese culture and tradition, origami originated from China. The word origami came from the Japanese word “Ori” which means folding and “Kame” which means paper.

Originally Origami was intended for religious purposes. However soon it evolved into a modern art form.

What exactly is Origami?

Paper folding or origami is to make a flat sheet or a square piece of paper into a sculpture of an animal or other designs without the use of scissors and glue. One of the most famous Japanese models is the paper crane. At first only the rich were able to afford the art of paper folding since there was very little paper available; but soon paper became less expensive and so origami became a popular art for everyone.

Kame or the Japanese origami paper can be bought in various sizes ranging from 2.5cm to 25cm. It comes in different colors too. The traditional paper used in Japan is the Washi. Washi paper is made from wood pulp and is usually tougher than normal paper. Bills or paper money from other countries are also famous materials for creating an origami, and this is known as Dollar origami or money origami.

During early times there were no written instructions on how to make origami; yet later on books about it were published and as of today you'll see instructions and articles about Japanese origami on the internet.

Here are some popular types of origami:

Action Origami- Includes different origami designs that can move in clever ways such as flying and many more. The most recognized example of this type is the traditional Japanese flapping bird.

Modular origami- A type of origami design where you put together identical pieces to form a complete model.

Wet folding- This is a technique done in order to produce an origami design with gentle curves. The paper is dampened though the final product keeps its shape when it dries.

Where to Find Origami Instructions on the Internet

Origami Club is in English and professes to be one of the best sites for origami instructions on the net. They have animations that teach you how to make each origami figure and they have hundreds of things you can make. can make.

Origami Fun is another excellent site that not only has instructions but many articles and helpful information about this great hobby!

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